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Attractions

A comprehensive guide to the great attractions in and around Bedford

 


Museums and Galleries

 Higgins Museum

The Higgins Bedford

The Higgins Bedford showcases wonderful collections including the Cecil Higgins Collection of fine and decorative arts, with its world-class watercolour and print collections and unique groups of work by the designers William Burges and Edward Bawden. The art gallery and museum explores the inspiring stories of local people and encourages a ‘sense of place’ for Bedford and the surrounding area. Using collections of archaeology, social history and ethnography, The Higgins bedford shows how the town of Bedford has developed.

 

Visit our website for all of the news, activities and events.

Castle Lane,  Bedford MK40 3XD
Tel:  01234 718618  Fax: 01234 718619

Education Service: 01234 718627
Email: thehiggins@bedford.gov.uk

Web: www.thehigginsbedford.org.uk

 eagle 1

Eagle Gallery

The Eagle Gallery artists produce work in a wide variety of media including 2D and 3D work, sculptures, pottery, jewellery, stained glass, collage and photography.

The gallery is dynamic and displays change on a monthly basis with themed exhibitions throughout the year

101 Castle Road Bedford MK40 3QP

Tel: 01234 346995

Email: info@eaglegalleryartists.co.uk

Web: www.eaglegalleryartists.co.uk

pancea

Panacea Museum

This museum tells the story of the Panacea Society – a remarkable religious community formed in the early twentieth century.  The Society was founded in 1919 by Mabel Barltrop, a 53 year old widow who lived in Bedford.

The Panacea Museum is in ‘Castleside’ a beautiful Victorian house and gardens that was part of the community’s headquarters.

 

.

The Museum also incorporates a campus of various attractive houses and gardens that belonged to the Society

9 Newnham Road, Bedford MK40 3NX.

Open Thursdays 11:30am - 3:00pm and on the first Saturday of the month from March to October.

Tel: 01234 353178

Email: museum@panaceatrust.org

Website: http://www.panaceatrust.org/

Week day private tours can be arranged for groups of 8 or more by appointment

 

 john bunyan museum

John Bunyan Museum

A wonderful museum charting the life and times of John Bunyan, the author of The Pilgrim’s Progress. The museum exhibits a number of his personal possessions and one of the largest collections of foreign translations of his written works.

Adjacent, the Free Church welcomes visitors and has a series of beautiful stained glass windows depicting scenes from The Pilgrim’s Progress

Open Mar-Oct Tues-Sat.  Admission free

Mill Street, Bedford, MK40 3EU

Tel: 01234 213772

Web: www.bunyanmeeting.co.uk/museum

 elstow moot hall

Elstow Moot Hall

A 15th century timber framed market hall, set on the village green at Elstow, The hall was originally built to serve Elstow Abbey as a market house and courtroom for the Abbess with strong connections to John Bunyan.

Beautiful period furniture and exhibits illustrating 17th century life.

Church End Elstow Beds MK42 9XT
Tel: 01234 266889
Email: moot.hall@bedford.gov.uk
Web: http://www.bedford.gov.uk/

Groups are welcome to visit by appointment at any time of the year. Please contact the curator for details.

Moot Hall is open to the public from 1pm to 4pm on Saturdays, from Easter (or the beginning of April) to the end of September. It is also open on Elstow Mayday and all Bank Holiday Mondays.

mill in bromham

Bromham Mill & Gallery

A working mill dating from the 17th century, housing a contemporary art gallery and craft outlet alongside working machinery and milling exhibition.

Bromham Mill, Bridge End, Bromham,

Bedford  MK43 8LP

Tel: 01234 267422

 glen miller museum may

Glenn Miller Museum

A unique collection dedicated to Glenn Miller, housed in the original control tower at the airfield where he was last seen alive in December 1944. See also the Airfield Archaeology Collection and the National Fire Service Collection,

Home Front House and Summer of 1944 collection all housed in original wartime buildings.

Twinwood Road Clapham, MK41 6AB
Tel: 01923 282725

Email: info@twinwoodevents.com
Web: www.twinwoodevents.com

Open Sundays and Bank Holidays only between May and October. Access by event ticket only during special event weekends.

 airfield museum

306th Bomb Group Museum

This wonderful museum serves to commemorate the heritage of the 306th Bombardment Group and the social impact of the friendly invasion on the surrounding area during the Second World War. 

A large, comprehensive collection of memorabilia, photographs and displays.

Open Weekends & Bank Holidays Mar-Oct

Thurleigh Airfield Business Park, Thurleigh, Beds MK44 2YP

Tel: 01234 708715

Email: 306museum@nsch.fsnet.co.uk

Web: www.306bg.co.uk

 spy capital of britain

Museum of Military

Intelligence

The collections include the Intelligence Corps Museum charting the development of British Military Intelligence Collection

Access is by appointment due to the security of the sight.

DISC, Chicksands, Shefford, Beds SG17 5PR

Tel: 01462 752896

Email: reed093@disc.mod.uk 

Web:  http://www.army.mod.uk/events/23203.aspx

 stondon transport museum

Stondon Transport Museum

Take a trip down memory lane and see the last 100 years in transport. 8 halls full of exhibits including cars, motorbikes, buses, army vehicles, air craft, fire engines, pedal cycles etc. plus a full size replica of Captain Cooks ship Endeavour.

Station Road, Lower Stondon, Henlow, Beds SG16 6JN 

Tel: 01462 850339

Email: transportmuseum@supanet.com

Web: www.transportmuseum.co.uk

 shuttleworth

Shuttleworth Collection

Home to The Shuttleworth Collection, a unique flying collection showcasing the first one hundred years of flight. Home of ‘The Flying Proms’ and many other outdoor events.

You can also visit Shuttleworth House, The Swiss Garden and Jubilee Play Centre.

Shuttleworth (Old Warden) Aerodrome

Nr. Biggleswade Bedfordshire SG18 9EP

Tel: 01767 627927

Email: collection@shuttleworth.org

Web: http://www.shuttleworth.org/


Outdoors

  

Image coming soon

 

Bedford and Milton Keynes Community Boat - John Bunyan

(Bedford and Milton Keynes Waterway Trust) 

The Bedford community boat is a brand new purpose built passenger boat that will carry up to 60 passengers.

There are four cruises available on the beautiful River Great Ouse, Kempston, Town Lock, Cardington Lock and Great Barford. The boat is also available for charter cruises on the Great Ouse at Bedford for community groups, coach operators, school groups and private party hire.

For prices, times and further details please visit the website.

Tel: 0330 1239 511 (from mobile)

0800 3282 803 (from landline)

01234 718112 (Tourist Information Centre)

Email: bmkboat@gmail.com

Web: http://www.b-mkwaterway.org.uk/

 

bedford waterways trust logo

 artfull dodger

Artful Dodger River Trips and Boat Hire A  relaxing river trip lasting approximately 2 1/2 hours from Danish Camp Riverside Visitor Centre to Bedford. Enjoy light refreshments on board. Fully licensed.

Boat Hire available from Danish camp by the hour as a guide boats will hold 2 adults & up to 4 children or 4 adults-dependant on weight and size.

 

Danish Camp Riverside

Visitor Centre Chapel Lane, Willington, MK44 3QG

Tel: 01234 838709

Email: info@danishcamp.co.uk
Web: http://www.danishcamp.co.uk/

 

danish camp

Danish Camp Riverside Visitor Centre

A site of tremendous historic significance and is believed to have been an ancient Danish encampment and trading place. Guided walks around the moat with its rare and exotic water fowl collection.

The large Scandinavian log cabin serves wonderful homemade food with a superb view of the river. Rod, cycle and boat hire available.

Chapel Lane, Willington, Bedford  MK44 3QG
Tel: 01234 838709

Email: info@danishcamp.co.uk

Web: www.danishcamp.co.uk/

 forest centre The Forest Centre
Set in a 600 acre country park, just minutes from Bedford. A great place for a family day out, parking and entrance free. Walk or cycle on 8km of safe paths or relax in the Lakeside Café and enjoy the view.

Cycle hire is available. Events throughout the year. Open throughout the year (only closed Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day).

Station Road, Marston Moretaine Beds MK43 0PR
Clearly signposted  from the A421.
Tel: 01234 767037

Email: info@marstonvale.org

Web: http://www.marstonvale.org/

 

stotfold mill

Stotfold Watermill and Nature Reserve

A Grade II listed working watermill with three fully accessible floors and adjacent 8.5 acre Local Nature Reserve. Milling demonstrations on open days. Quality Stone Ground Flour, Tea Room, Gift Shop, Art Displays.

The Mill and Nature Reserve is a charity run by the volunteers of the Stotfold Mill Preservation Trust.  

Stotfold Mill, Mill Lane, Stotfold, Beds SG5 4NU  

Tel: 01462 734541

Email: enquiries@stotfoldmill.com

Web: http://www.stotfoldmill.com/


Animal Activities

 sheep

Thurleigh Farm Centre

A working farm and children's activity centre offering an action packed fun day out for all the family.

Indoor play, bungee trampolines, trampolines, mini quad bikes, pedal carts, pony and tractor-pull rides and fire engine rides. Tea rooms with delicious homemade cakes and daily specials. Seasonal events held throughout the year, please see website for details. 

Cross End, Thurleigh MK44 2EE

Tel: 01234 771597

Web: http://www.thurleighfarmcentre.co.uk/

the kiln

The Kiln

Painting on pottery is fun and very easy for adults and children of all ages and abilities to enjoy.

Even first time visitors find it so easy to create something wonderful to treasure, There are so many different pottery ideas or painting techniques, you are sure to be inspired and have fun.

87 High Street, Bedford MK40 1AL
Tel: 01234 216799

Web: http://www.bedfordkiln.co.uk/

rspb

RSPB Sandy - The Lodge

Explore The Lodge nature reserve, the home of the RSPB. 5 miles (8km) of trails wind through woodland, heath and acid grassland along the Greensand Ridge.

Visit the beautifully managed gardens, discover the Iron Age banks and ditches on Galley Hill. Watch woodland birds from the hide and see how we are restoring the largest area of heathland in Bedfordshire.

Have a browse in the RSPB shop and stock up with bird food, then enjoy a picnic while watching all the bird activity on the feeders beside the gatehouse lawn.

The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL

Tel: 01767 680541

Email: thelodgereserve@rspb.org.uk

Web: www.rspb.org.uk/thelodge

woburn safari Woburn Safari Park 
Visit the award winning Safari Park where you can get up close to the world’s most exotic and endangered animals. Woburn Safari Park is an action packed day for all the family.

From the Road Safari where you can go round as many times as you like to the Foot Safari where you can mingle with the animals, grab lunch before watching the keeper demonstrations.

Woburn, Beds, MK17 9QN

Tel: 01525 290407

Email: info@woburnsafari.co.uk

Web: http://www.woburnsafari.co.uk/

 whipsnade

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Whipsnade is the UK's largest wildlife park, set in 600 acres of panoramic scenery and is home to over 2,500 animals. You can choose whether you view the animals on foot, by bus or by train.

See the elephants on their daily walk around the Zoo, view the majestic rhino in their huge paddock, meet our lion pride, spot the cheetahs as they speed by and don't forget to look up our lofty giraffes too!  There are also daily events, such as penguin feeding and the bird and sea lion demonstrations.

Dunstable, Beds, LU6 2LF

Tel: 01582 872171

Web: http://www.whipsnade.co.uk/

 


Houses and Gardens

 

Manor House Gardens

Beautiful, inspiring gardens home of well-known garden writer Kathy Brown

 

Church Road, Stevington, Nr Bedford.

MK43 7QB

Tel: 01234 822064

Web: kathybrownsgarden.homestead.com

bushmead priory

Bushmead Priory nr Bolnhurst

Built in 1195 a rare survival of the complete refectory of an Augustinian Priory, with fine timber roof and notable 14th century wall paintings.

Please call to find out opening times, entry by pre-booked guided tours only.

Located off B660, 2 miles S of Bolnhurst,  Bedfordshire MK44 2LD

Tel: 01525 860000

Email: customers@english-heritage.org.uk

Web: www.english-heritage.org.uk

tudor dovedcotes

Tudor Dovecotes

Sir John Gostwick built the 16th century stables and stone dovecote which consists of 1500 nesting boxes.

Viewing by appointment 

Willington, Bedfordshire MK44 3QG

(Follow brown signs)

Tel: 01234 838278

Web: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

turvey house

Turvey House

A neo-classical house and walled garden set in picturesque parkland bordering the River Great Ouse.

Walled garden set in picturesque parkland

The principal rooms contain a fine collection of 18th and 19th century English and Continental furniture, pictures, porcelain, objet d’art and books. Bordering the River Great Ouse.  Open days during spring and summer. 

Turvey, Bedfordshire MK43 8EL

Tel: 01234 88124

Email: danielhanbury@hotmail.com

mogerhanger house

Moggerhanger Park House Moggerhanger Park is a 33 acre estate in the middle of beautiful Bedfordshire countryside containing Moggerhanger House, a Grade I listed country house designed by the eminent architect, Sir John Soane.

The fascinating grounds contain historic woodlands, walled gardens and an ice house. Please see accommodation pages for accommodation details.

Park Road, Moggerhanger, BEDS, MK44 3RW 

Tel : 01767 641007

Email: enquiries@moggerhangerpark.com

Web: www.moggerhangerpark.com

wrest park house

Wrest Park

Explore the newly revitalised secret garden of Wrest Park - and discover 200 years of garden history. With extended opening hours and a packed events programme from the annual St George’s Day Festival to our Time Travellers,

Go... events plus our playground and café Wrest Park offers a day out worth talking about.

For full details of opening times and prices,

Tel: 01525 860000

Web:  www.english-heritage.org.uk/wrestpark

woburn abbey 1

Woburn Abbey

Visit Woburn Abbey to discover the home of Afternoon Tea, enjoy priceless treasures, uncover captivating stories, stroll through beautiful gardens and browse the outstanding antiques centre, all set within 3,000 acres of deer park.

Woburn, Bedfordshire MK17 9WA

Tel: 01525 290333

Email: admissions@woburn.co.uk

Web: http://www.woburn.co.uk/


Active Attractions

water skiing person

Box End Park

Enjoy the thrill of wakeboarding, keyboarding or waterskiing without a boat! A cost effective way for individuals and groups to enjoy the thrills of water sports on our two manmade lakes.

Relax over a drink and enjoy the views from the clubhouse or sample the delights of Corner 5 restaurant. Caravan pitches available.

Box End Park, Kempston, Beds MK43 8RW

Tel: 01234 846222 or 07922 824678
Email:info@boxendpark.com

Web: http://www.boxendpark.com/

 

college equestrian centre

College Equestrian Centre
A championship venue holding equestrian competitions every Saturday and Sunday with free spectator access.

Free car park and level wheelchair/pushchair access with a licensed café.

Church Road , Keysoe, Beds,
MK44 2JP

Tel :01234 708400
Email:info@keysoe.com

Web:http://www.keysoe.com/

wind tunnel body flight

Bodyflight

The world’s largest and best indoor skydiving wind tunnel. Come and learn the fun and exciting sport of Bodyflying in the safety of a vertical wind tunnel.

No heights or jumping involved! suitable for all ages and abilities.

36 Twinwoods Business Park, Clapham, BEDS MK41 6AE
Tel: 0845 200 2960
Email: reception@bodyflight.co.ukhttp

Web: http://www.bodyflight.co.uk/
 

girl in a canoe Bedfordshire Canoe Trails
Our rivers offer the chance to see Britain's beautiful countryside, wildlife and sample some adventure! Guided canoe or kayak trails, pick up and drop off service, guided tours and multi day trips.

Mobile is best as we're usually out on the water!

Tel: Richard 07710 616520 or Ashley 07960 087235

Email: info@canoetrail.co.uk

Web: http://www.canoetrail.co.uk/

flowhoouse

FlowHouse Bedford

It's the first of it's kind in the UK and offers you the experience of "flowboarding" combining the thrill of surfing, skateboarding and wakeboarding all under one roof.

Great fun for beginners and experienced boarders alike.

36 Twinwoods Business Park, Clapham, BEDS MK41 6AE

Tel: 0845 200 2928

Email: mailto:reception@flowhouse.co.uk
Web: http://www.flowhouse.co.uk/

bedford microlight centre

Bedford Microlight Centre

Experience the thrill of being sky high and controlling a light aircraft. You will be flown by an experienced pilot and feel like you are in another world as you soar high above the countryside.

Longacre Farm, Moggerhanger Road, Sandy Bedfordshire SG19 1ND
Tel:01767 691616                                                Email: info@bedfordmicrolightcentre.co.uk      

Web: http://www.bedfordmicrolightcentre.co.uk/    

palmer sport

PalmerSport

A truly unforgettable driving day, where each guest tries their hand at a range of high performance vehicles - including the legendary BMW M3, sensational Ariel Atom and powerful 3 litre V6 Formula

Jaguar single seater, exclusive to PalmerSport. Also available is the M3 master and YoungDrive! introductory driving lesson for children 11 and over, featuring the Bedford Autodrome,
Thurleigh Airfield Business Park,
Thurleigh BEDS, MK44 2YP
Tel: 01234 332400 or 01403 733999
Email: info@palmersport.com
Web: http://www.palmersport.com/


robins reach archery

Robin's Reach Archery

Archery taught by qualified, fully vetted and insured coaches either one-to-one or in groups. Ideal for corporate or social events with a mobile facility for fetes, exhibitions and shows updated 2013

Top End, Little Staughton,
Beds,  MK44 2BY

Tel: 01234 376889 or
07748 528751

Web: http://www.robinsreach.co.uk/

 powerboat

Stewartby Powerboat Racing

We offer Junior Training for young people aged between 9-16 years. One or two day packages available from £40. Full Instruction given & equipment provided,safety boat & rescue personnel in attendance

Stewartby Watersports Club
Powerboat Section
Stewartby Lake,Green Lane,Stewartby,Beds
MK43 9LY

Email: m.powell6@ntlworld.com
Web:http://www.stewartbypowerboat.com/junior.php

skirmish

Skirmish Paintball

Why not try paintballing. Outdoor Lasertag of Airsoft at our 30 acre themed Bedfordshire woodland adventure park. Suitable for all ages from 8+ to as old as you feel. Great deals for groups and company events.

Dungee Road, Odell, Beds MK43 7AE
Tel: 01234 510012
Web: http://www.skirmishcentral.com/

 

 sporting targets

Sporting Targets

A great day out, challenging, fun & exciting. We are one of the top Clay Target Shooting Schools in the UK. We are open for Lessons, Practice, tuition or coaching with one of our qualified coaches, for beginners to Top Shots.

Enjoy farmhouse cooking & bar in the relaxed atmosphere of the clubhouse. Also multi activity events with Clay shooting, archery, air rifles, quads, 4x4 and dune buggies.  
Knotting Lane Riseley, Beds MK44 1BX
Tel: 01234 708893
Email: enquiries@sportingtargets.co.uk

Web: http://www.sportingtargets.co.uk/

 

 

water skiing

Wyboston Water Sport Centre
Whether it’s a competitive team building day, or client entertainment or just pure fun, the Water Sports Centre at the Wyboston Lakes offers a wide range of activities, both wet and dry.

Two 30 acre lakes provide the ideal setting to experience the thrill of jet bikes, jet skis or water-skiing. Land based events include quad bikes, laser shooting, archery, jousting, a bungee run and 4x4 off roading and many others. Wyboston Lakes Business & Leisure Village,

Great North Road, Wyboston, Beds MK44 3AR
Tel: 01480 213100

Email: info@wybostoncorpevents.co.uk

Web: www.wybostoncorpevents.co.uk/